Phenol Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Phenol market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Phenol or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Phenol market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Phenol Overview Transcript
The global phenol market is structurally short and will remain so until new capacities starts to come on stream in Asia over the next few years.
Demand for phenol derivatives is set to remain steady in Europe, Asia and the US. This is because demand in downstream markets such as bisphenol A, caprolactam, adipic acid and phenolic resins is likely to remain subdued in the near term.
Global economic uncertainty and slow growth in developed markets will play their parts to aid stability. There is some concern over the supply of cumene, an upstream chemical, which may itself become short, tightening supply.
The other challenges facing the market for phenol are sharp fluctuations in the benzene price which can be hard to pass on to consumers in downstream markets where prices are negotiated rather than set on a formula basis.
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Phenol news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Phenol analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Phenol marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Phenol
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Phenol
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Phenol: Market overview
Updated to Q1 2016
European operating rates should be little changed on 2015, with production rates exactly matching contract volumes. Producers have been successful in pushing through some adder increases, although weak benzene pricing is still a drag on profitability. Demand levels are uncertain, with the stronger euro harming competitiveness.
A heavy turnaround schedule, an extended shutdown at Shell’s cracker in Singapore, alongside decreased year-end inflow of deep-sea material, are expected to lend support to the underlying supply/demand fundamentals in the Asian phenol market in the first quarter. Product availability, which has already been curtailed by a combination of output cuts, routine maintenance and feedstock shortages, is expected to be further tightened by the large number of plant overhauls that are scheduled take place in the first quarter.
In the US, phenol pricing was set to move up in the first quarter, as producers secured contract adder increases. Sellers had pushed for higher adders on the basis of movement in upstream benzene, in an effort to restore margins to levels they view as healthier. Demand is generally expected flat, with little growth seen in the domestic market. Market participants will be watching Altivia Petrochemicals, which has restarted the Ohio phenol/acetone plant formerly owned by Haverhill Chemicals on a limited basis.
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Phenol occurs as colourless to yellow crystals, with a characteristic carbolic odour which turns pink on exposure to light and air. It is strongly hydroscopic, liquefying in moist air. It is moderately dissolvable in water, but very soluble in ether, methyl and ethyl alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, acetic acid, glycerol, benzene and chlorinated hydrocarbons. The solution in water is a weak acid.
The main chemical intermediates and derivatives of phenol are bisphenol-A (BPA) used to make polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins, phenolic resins, caprolactam, alkylphenols, aniline and adipic acid. The largest market for phenol is BPA followed by phenolic resins.
Cumene-based technology is the dominant process to produce phenol. Here, benzene and propylene are reacted to form cumene, which is oxidised to the hydroperoxide, followed by acid-catalysed cleavage to yield phenol and acetone.